Mailbox fraud, theft, and check washing is on the rise and it is important we all take measures to protect our information, payments, and documents. This increasingly common method of fraud involves thieves stealing mail, altering checks, and cashing them for their gain, and we typically see an increase in these attempts around the holidays. 

What is Check Washing? 

Check washing is a form of fraud where criminals intercept checks in the mail, erase the ink, make the check out to themselves, and then they adjust the amount of the check to divert the funds into their pockets. US Community Credit Union typically catches these fraudsters when they bring the check into the branch attempting to cash it.  

Protect Yourself:

Opt for Direct Deposit: Whenever possible, choose direct deposit as a secure and efficient way to receive payments. This eliminates the physical check making you vulnerable to theft.

Monitor Your Mail: Be vigilant about the delivery of your mail. If you notice any suspicious activity, such as missing statements or delayed bills, contact your local post office promptly.

Use Secure Mailboxes: If you must send or receive checks by mail, consider using a secure mailbox at the post office rather than leaving them in your home mailbox. 

Be Mindful of Pickup Times: If you have outgoing mail, be aware of your mail carriers pickup schedule and try to time your outgoing mail to minimize the time it spends in your mailbox. 

Employ Security Features: Consider using checks with security features, such as watermarks and chemical protection, to make it more difficult for fraudsters to alter the information. Ask US what check options are available for you. 

Track Your Transactions: Regularly review your USCCU statements and transaction history. Report any unauthorized or altered transactions to you US immediately. 

Shred Sensitive Documents: Dispose of old checks, statements, and financial documents by shredding them. This makes it harder for criminals to piece together the information they need.

Stay Informed: Keep yourself informed about emerging fraud trends. Knowledge is a powerful tool in staying one step ahead of potential threats.

As technology advances, so do the methods of fraudsters. By staying informed and implementing these protective measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to check washing and other forms of financial fraud. It’s essential to remain proactive in securing your financial information and adapting to new practices that prioritize your safety. And remember, we are here to help – keeping your financial information safe and secure is our top-priority.